This is a hard post for me to write. Not least because the people involved may read this, and that triggers all sorts of fears for me of what they will think and how they might react.

And, one of the things I’m committed to is sharing more of me, being more vulnerable, opening up my heart, and this is also in service of that. So, here goes.

I had two bits of news this week, big news. One I knew was going to happen sometime, that two close friends are moving to Australia – turns out that will be in January. The other, that two different close friends are moving to the USA, also in January, came as a complete surprise.

On the one hand, this isn’t about me at all. This is about them, living their fullest lives, following their dreams, building their careers, choosing what works for them and their families to make them happy. For all of that I couldn’t be happier for all of them, I admire their courage to follow their dreams, I wish them every success and happiness and send them all the love in the world.

I’m also gutted. It felt like a body blow. Hearing about both within ten minutes left me reeling, trying to smile and celebrate and yet feeling heartbroken, sad, lost, and alone.

I’ve worked hard in the last few years to open up to my close friends, to share how I really feel, to not constantly say “I’m fine” when sometimes I’m really not. I’m really good at not sharing, staying silent has been my default for a long time. Safer not to rely on anyone but myself, not to open up, then when they let you down or leave – which in my head they always will eventually – you don’t get hurt.

And then it hit me. This experience, this hurt, was actually a sign of a breakthrough for me. For the first time I had fully let my friends in, opened up my heart to them, been truly vulnerable. That’s why this was hurting *so* much. Realising this now has given me the opportunity to have this time be different. I’m not going to use this as an excuse to go back to my old ways, to shut people out, to not be vulnerable. I’m going to use it to practise. To realise that it’s OK, I can let people in, that sometimes I may get hurt, but I’ll survive. More than that in fact, I will thrive, and through this experience I may in the end get closer to these friends, not more distant.

So, I’m sitting with it, allowing the sadness, and reaching out for the support I need. I’m also starting to share my feelings with these friends, not to bring them down but actually to say how much I love them. While it hurts now, it will get better. And I realise that despite all of this, the love and vulnerability and friendship which I’ve been privileged to experience – and will continue to experience – is worth it. Every. Single. Time.

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